Things I’ve learned in 2015
At the end of December I make a list of lessons I’ve learned throughout the year. I reflect on them hoping that with the coming new year I will be a little more wiser with each step I take. However, making mistakes is inevitable and sometimes I find I get burned by the same thing with each coming year. These lists help me highlight the mistakes I’ve repeated and allow me to consider new ways to overcome my flaws. It’s a great way of coming into a new year feeling a little more confident with a better grip on the reins. I highly suggest each one of you makes a list of lessons you’ve learned throughout your year.
1. Family is the best support system.
It has been a very rocky year, from school related stress to losing a loved one; the emotional roller coaster was more winding than usual. A friend offering advice and a listening ear is comforting but they can only do so much for you. No one knows you better than your family. Your family will always make time for you and have your best interests at heart. They may argue with you but it’s usually because they are so eager to see you reach your full potential. They may upset you but if anyone was to ever cause you any distress they would be the first ones to your defense and aid. Keep up good relations with your family members because at the end of the day they’re usually the last ones standing there no matter how many times you’ve wronged them.
2.Making a life priorities list is the actual key to success.
Coming into the fall semester I sat down and created a list of priorities. I focused on the top three things that mattered to me; school, family and my charity work. Each day I would write the tasks I needed to complete under each of the categories. It was the smartest thing I could have done. I never diverged off my path because I knew the top three things I needed to focus on and the tasks that needed to be completed. I never missed an assignment deadline, my sisters’ recitals or my fundraising deadlines. By keeping my focus on three things and writing daily tasks for each I slowly but surely was able to accomplish a lot. I maintained high marks, had an amazing support system and contributed to causes I cared about (even managed to start my own food outreach program). A priorities task list helps lift a lot of stress and anxiety because you know what your focus should be on at all times. It really puts in perspective what is important to you and makes you want to aim higher with each goal you accomplish.
3.TIME BLOCKING WORKS WONDERS.
I am pretty sure I suffer from a form of ADHD where I constantly have a million thoughts rushing through my head. There is always a million things I want to accomplish in a day. For example: this semester I took 8 courses. Deadlines were ridiculous and I always had multiple assignments, research papers and group project due in the same week. I felt super overwhelmed trying to juggle everything but not being able to finish one thing. That’s when I discovered TIME BLOCKING! Time blocking is like a to-do list on steroids. Instead of just making a list of everything you’d like to get done in a day, you plan out exactly when you’re going to work on each task. This layout worked great for me I found it on this amazing blog (Just a Girl and Her Blog). The to do list I broke up into my categories “School” “Family” “Extracurriculars”. Under each I wrote the tasks that needed to be completed that day
ex. SCHOOL –hand in essay
-reach chapter 7 for Curriculum
FAMILY –walks dogs
-pack lunches for tom
EXTRACURRIC- send fundraising emails out
Then in the time blocking section I would write down the activities that were already planned that day (ex. From 8-11 lecture). After those time slots were blocked off I would see the time I had available and enter the tasks under each category that needed to be completed. IT SERIOUSLY WORKED LIKE A CHARM FOR ME THIS SEMESTER! It was the best thing I discovered and definitely something I will carry on into the new year!
4.FOMO is delusional
With such a hectic schedule I always felt like I was missing out on the going out and partying part. Everyone was out partying each Friday and I was at home writing an assignment… IT SUCKED. I had the worst FOMO (fear of missing out). I imagined everyone creating these amazing memories and having the best time out without me. IN REALITY half the time my friends noted that the night wasn’t anything special just a bunch of people getting blackout and waking up with an awful hangover. If youre anything like me your hangovers last a full day and it really isn’t worth wasting a day for an insignificant night. Don’t get me wrong I did make time to go out with my friends and when I did it felt more significant. For example instead of going to a bar on a Friday night we went away to Montreal for the weekend, to Buffalo tailgating or a friends art exhibit. We made actual memories all while experiencing something more exciting than chugging beers in a dark bar…. Well at least we were chugging beers in a different province …. So I think if you’re going to make time for going out make sure it’s something worthwhile and not just a random pub night that will end with drunkenly stuffing poutine in your face.
5. TRAVELING IS SO WORTHWHILE
In my opinion travelling is SO important. It really changes your perspective on so many things. I’ve travelled to Greece, Israel, Germany, Austria, and Honduras the list goes on and on. However, this year I was able to zip-line in Dominican, party and explore in New York, visit art exhibits in Montreal, tailgate in Buffalo, meet new people in Ukraine and experience coffee in Vienna. Traveling taught me how to rely on myself to solve my own problems. Traveling alone can be frightening but also a dozen times more rewarding. The concept of “the customer is always right” is followed in far fewer places then you’d imagine. It can be very frustrating but it teaches you how to deal with many different types of personalities in a civil manor. Another concept, relevant in North America but not in many other parts, is “time is money”. It just teaches you to reflect on the fact that there is no one approach to things. Most importantly with each place you visit you experience how different every society thinks and acts. It’s amazing how the things we obsess over in Canada are actually a laughable matter in a war torn country. It’s amazing how fashion and sports may be big topics of discussion in North America but in Europe people prefer to discuss world events and newly conducted medical research. I’ve definitely learned a lot about myself and reflected on the things I care about. I guess there really is more to life than a social media presence …go figure !! …lol
6. DON’T FREAK OUT IT’S JUST A MISTAKE
Like I mentioned making mistakes is inevitable. There is never a right way of handling situations. Sometimes I wish someone gave me a manual on how to deal with relationships and life in general. Someone once said mistakes are lessons learned and I could not agree more. Some mistakes are just unavoidable and you cannot learn a lesson until you’ve been burned. However, you can bounce back from a mistake. I’ve adapted the “okay you’ve made a mistake… now what did you learn? What could you have done and what are you going to do to come out on top in this situation?” Instead of being upset over a tiny set back think about how you’re going to better yourself and focus on that until you’ve patched up the wound.
7. Let people do their thing and you do yours
I can’t explain the countless times I have been mind-blown by how insensitive, ridiculous or just plain sad people can be. I’ve tried to make a point multiple times and patch up multiple friendships or relationships; hoping it’ll work out over and over again. Sometimes, you just have to understand certain people are self-destructive and unless they ask for help there isn’t much you can do. Changing someone is never going to work. People will continue to do things out of your control. What you can control is how you react to the situation. I’ve learned the best approach is: if it’s toxic let it go. Relationships of any sort are hard but they should be wonderful and bring you joy. If it’s constantly causing you stress it may not be worth your while. Let people do their thing and you do yours, if that means parting way well then be it. With that being said don’t go out of your way to judge others … who are you to say what they’re doing is right or wrong. Sure, you can disagree but to spend time conversing about someone else is just a waste of valuable time. I once had a stoner friend who said “Just chill do your thing, they’ll do theirs who cares”. I mean he was probably high out of his mind but where ever he may be nowadays that may be the best thing you’ve ever said!
…..I’m sure there will be a part two as I continue to reflect on my year the next two days, but for now that’s it. It’s been a really productive year with a lot of positive changes and results. I can’t help but look forward to an amazing year in 2016 ! I highly encourage each of you to take time and reflect on your year !